Friday, 25 Sep 2020

ASIRT investigating altercation involving Lethbridge police officer caught on video

Lethbridge police say the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is now investigating the actions of one of their officers, whose takedown of another man was captured on video and shared via social media.

The altercation happened early Saturday when police were called to a Halloween party at the La Cité des Prairie event hall on 6 Avenue S.

Police had said a large crowd of intoxicated youths had just left the building after a fire extinguisher had been discharged inside.

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A bystander later captured video of a physical altercation between the responding officer and another man.

The 37-second video shows a police officer walk up to a young man who is talking to a woman as people are heard shouting in the background. The officer can then be seen grabbing the man by the throat and punching him in the face. As the man backs away from the officer, the officer reaches his arms out toward the man, at which point another man in an orange shirt appears to tackle the police officer. The officer is seen grabbing the man he punched a second time and throwing him to the ground. The video ends with the officer straddling the man.

Police say an 18-year-old man tried to grab the officer’s Taser when the altercation occurred. That individual is facing charges of assaulting a peace officer, disarming or attempting to disarm a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer.

Lethbridge police say following a review of the video, a notification was made to the director of law enforcement, as required under the police act when matters are deemed serious or sensitive in nature. An independent ASIRT investigation was directed.

“I have the utmost confidence in our officers and the training we provide,” Deputy Chief Scott Woods said in a news released issued Thursday evening.

“Transparency is critical to maintaining the public’s trust and as a service, we welcome this independent investigation by ASIRT.”

Lethbridge police say they will not be providing any further comment to protect the integrity of the ASIRT investigation.

Global News has reached out to ASIRT for comment. This story will be updated when one is received.

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